Nigerian male 100m sprinting has never been this good! A huge statement, but the event is at an all-time high, and the men’s 100m, which ever way it is flipped, remains the biggest event to watch at the Nigerian Athletics Championships where the team to the Paris 2024 Olympics and the World U-20 Championships in Cali will be decided.

In 2024 alone, eleven (11) Nigerians have run 10.20s or faster in the 100m, and the only countries to boast better figures are the United States (41) and Jamaica (14), with Nigeria sitting in 3rd. Other sprint powerhouse nations such as Great Britain (10), Japan (8) and South Africa (6) follow.

History might also suggest the same: Nigeria hit its peak in the male sprints somewhere in the region of 1996 -1998; all of those years having eight men go under 10.20s.

The Nigerian Athletics Championships set to hold in the city of Benin at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium will see Favour Ashe who holds the national lead with his phenomenal 9.94s at the NCAA East Regionals, launch an attempt to reclaim his title from 2022. Having dominated all year long on the NCAA circuit, he returns to familiar territory, the city where he first broke 10 seconds!

Although Ashe has dealt with niggles all year long, he has managed to stay at the top of a big pile on the collegiate scene and will hope to replicate the same form when he steps on the track to go in Benin.

Ashe is not alone in the sub-10 region this season. Godson Brume has been just as good this year, boasting a Season’s Best (SB) of 9.99s, which he did at the SEC Championships! Brume got a slow start to the season due to hamstring issues but is definitely now in the zone and will be looking to claim what will be his first national title.

He was just edged into 4th place at the NCAA Championships by Kanyinsola Ajayi, and will be planning to come to Nigeria for perhaps a bigger rebound.

Ajayi on his own is no slouch either. The Auburn University freshman has been raining down Personal Bests (PB) every time he stepped on the track in the NCAA. He infact trains with Ashe and the duo was undoubtedly the best pair in the 100m all year long in college.

Ajayi showed indications of what was possible when two months after stepping foot in the US, he stunned by winning the SEC men’s 60m title. He projected the same form to outdoors and is just on the brink of breaking 10 seconds, being the closest of those who have not hit the standard, with a PB of 10.01s.

Another athlete to watch will be Usheoritse Itsekiri who has a knack for making teams. He is the defending champion and has come agonizingly close to breaking 10 seconds, running a PB of 10.02s on three occasions!

Dushos as he is popularly called, came really close in 2024, clocking 9.97s in Ontario but with a tailwind of 2.1m/s, slightly over the allowable limit of 2.0mps.

Surely, he now knows it is possible and what better place to do it than the National Olympic Trials and the city where he last competed and won in Nigeria.

A beautiful redemption story could be in the books for Enoch Adegoke who has had to fight back and swim his way to the surface again. He made history in 2021 when he became the first Nigerian man in 25 years to qualify for the men’s 100m final at the Olympic Games.

In that final, he got injured and was out of it for a little while. However, he has proven himself a champion, going up the curve again as if relearning the event. He has risen to the top again, evident in his 10.12s performance in Leverkusen three weeks ago. If he shows up on race day, bet he will be a factor in deciding the team to Paris!

Alaba Akintola will also be bidding for a spot on the train to Paris, having recently beaten a stacked 100m field including Ronnie Baker in Georgia, posting a Season’s Best (SB) of 10.08s.

Udodi Onwuzurike, despite a late start to 2024, did the same thing to an equally brilliant field in New York City and has posted a Season’s Best (SB) of 10.12s so far.

Another athlete who has always been a factor is veteran and three-time National Champion Seye Ogunlewe who has run 10.11s in 2024 and only just ran the best time of his career – 10.03s – last year. Other athletes such as Consider Ekanem, Nicholas Fakorede and Israel Okon will be aiming for a punch when the heavyweights line up to do battle.


Being the force that he is and a masterful bend runner, Udodi Onwuzurike will be the athlete to set pace in the longer sprint in Benin, if he decides to compete in the event.

He is the only Nigerian male sprinter to have hit the Olympic standard in the 200m, doing so in his first race of 2024 in Florida in 20.13s! In the form that carried him to the NCAA 200m title in 2023, he will be very difficult to beat, but will have Alaba Akintola with him.

Akintola at the same meet where he posted 10.08s over 100m, also ran 20.40s (SB) to win the 200m and seems to have hit form just at the perfect time. He will hope to defend the title, which he has won two consecutive times.

Consider Ekanem impressed in the early part of the season when he clocked a time of 20.43s, the fourth fastest time clocked by a Nigerian man on home soil after Uchenna Emedolu ran impressive times of 20.38s and 20.42s respectively at the 2003 African Games in Abuja, as well as Davidson Ezinwa’s scintillating 20.30s recorded in 1990 in Bauchi.

If he is able to step away from very recent struggles with injury, then he will be right up there with the rest.

Usheoritse Itsekiri whose one of two first national titles was over 200m has also posted 20.44s so far this year. For athletes like him, Seye Ogunlewe (20.61s) and Israel Okon (20.87s), the bigger focus might be on the 100m, but there’s no saying what they could potentially do in the long sprint.


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